I don’t need a pet. I have a robot vacuum cleaner. Since all pets have names, mine is called Suckie Vacunna. The “Suckie” part is fairly obvious, since my pet is a working one, she, in her own way, sucks up detritus from the floor. “Vacunna” comes from my friend, Larry, who, as a child, was afraid of the vacuum cleaner and resolutely informed his mother that he was “frai vacunna.” He was a precocious child and probably soon thereafter told her, “The sound emanating from that infernal device hurts my ears.” but that is another story.
Suckie is a happy pet. She makes cheerful little beeping noises when I press the start button, then she circles around the area to be cleaned, getting herself oriented. She then proceeds to snuffle all over the room crossing her path several times, moving to her own inner guidance system. If this is done on carpet, she leaves tracks, making the carpet resemble something like the Nasca Plain. I expect the UFO enthusiasts to descend at any moment claiming that my vacuum cleaner is the invention of aliens either trying to communicate with us or else leave the landing instructions to their invading brethren.
Suckie, like many pets, is not completely housebroken. She leaves deposits of lint and fuzz behind as she performs her duties. I follow along after a while with a hand vac to finish the job. That said, she still reduces the amount of time that I, myself, would otherwise spend vacuuming (which is pretty much never if I can get out of it). So I have to say, that Suckie, though imperfect, does keep the house looking better.
She also needs to be groomed. Her voice (remarkable womanly for a little pet) will inform me that her dustbin needs to be emptied or her brushes need to be cleaned and she will otherwise refuse to budge until these grooming tasks are performed to her satisfaction. This almost negates any of the good she does as a working pet because taking apart a dusty vacuum to perform this is unpleasant, especially for those of us with allergies. And here I thought I had obtained an allergy free pet.
She is otherwise a low maintenance pet. When she is done with her job, she plugs herself back into her little station and hibernates until she is needed next. As far as pets go, this probably the best I can do right now. I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of an actual living thing.
I devoted a lot of time to my children. When they were young, they were my calling and I spent most of my day dealing with their needs. Any parent of a challenged child will know what I mean here. I spent so much time in doctor’s offices, with counselors and therapists. It was frustrating and lonely but I could either do that or lose my mind. Even when they were with their dad (my ex-husband), I was thinking about them, missing them, though I might have been grateful for the brief vacation from them. It wasn’t always quality time (any parent who says it was, is lying) but still, I think I did OK by them. They seem to have thrived in any event.
But now, my kids have moved on, to adult communities, university and beyond. And I am building my own life, doing the things I had put on hold to raise them. I have traveled, written stories, made a short movie and I am taking a biology class at a local college.
The old saying is true, “The days are long but the years are short.” I still feel that they will be there in some other part of the house like little birds chirping for food, attention, needing my time, just out of sight, just out of reach.
The days were long. The years were short. Perhaps, on occasion, just a little too short.
Maybe I should get a dog.